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U.S. Timber Committee Reacts to Peru's Timber Verification

Washington, D.C. - Today, the Office of the United States Trade Representative, on behalf of the United States Timber Committee, issued a statement reviewing the overall findings of the Government of Peru’s verification report regarding a 2015 timber shipment from Peru to the United States, and identifying areas for additional work by Peru.  This first-ever verification was conducted pursuant to a February 2016 request made by the Timber Committee under the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA).  In this context, the timber verification provision has served as an important tool to assess the application of Peruvian forestry laws throughout the timber supply chain and to pinpoint areas requiring strengthening so that U.S. timber importers and consumers can be confident that the timber they buy from Peru is legally harvested and exported.

“The Committee's verification request has highlighted both the progress and the challenges that remain in Peru's forestry sector. I recently traveled to Peru and met with President Kuczynski, Prime Minister Lombardi and other incoming ministers with responsibilities in this area. I urged the new Administration to engage quickly with the United States on a focused set of actions to combat illegal logging, including maximizing the use of new technologies to address the challenges – including, for example, full and immediate deployment of the electronic timber tracking system we have been working together to develop,” said Ambassador Michael Froman.

The Forest Annex has catalyzed important reforms in Peru’s forestry sector since its entry into force, including:

  • establishment of key forest sector institutions, such as an independent forestry oversight body - Organismo de Supervisión de los Recursos Forestales y de Fauna Silvestre (OSINFOR) -which has performed over 4000 inspections of 1.7 million hectares from 2009 to June 2016, resulting in thousands of resolutions to sanction illegal activity or mandate corrective actions to improve forest management;
  • amendment of Peru’s criminal code in 2008 to include substantial penalties for illegal logging and wildlife trafficking;
  • adoption in 2010 of laws and other measures necessary to comply with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); and
  • enactment of a new Forestry and Wildlife Law in 2011 and implementing regulations in 2015 that improve forest sector governance.

The United States has supported Peru’s efforts to improve forest sector governance by providing nearly $90 million in technical assistance and capacity building since the PTPA entered into force, including development of an electronic timber tracking system that will allow Peruvian authorities to trace every log from stump to port in order to better detect and address illegal logging. While there has been significant progress in addressing illegal logging, including recent public reports of seizures of illegal timber, challenges remain. We are engaging the Government of Peru, as well as non-governmental organizations and businesses operating in Peru to address these challenges.

Background

The PTPA contains a landmark Environment Chapter and Forest Annex, which includes a requirement for Peru to conduct audits and verifications of particular timber producers and exporters upon request from the United States and provides for the United States’ participation in the verification process.

To read the United States Timber Committee's report please click here.